“Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” says the Holy Bible (Exodus 21:24-25). No criminal law ever written is simpler and more appropriate than these ancient Hebrew verses. Similarly, under Islamic law someone caught stealing can have his hand cut off. In the Old West, horse thieves were hanged from the nearest tree. During World War II, French women who slept with German soldiers had their heads shaven by the Resistance. And so on.

In the United States, persons who are convicted of such felonies as rape, murder, arson, embezzlement, burglary, drug dealing, extortion, child molesting, aggravated assault, etc., are more often than not back on the streets within a few months, whereupon they frequently repeat their crimes. The jails are jammed with criminals, and even the most liberal students of crime have all but given up on rehabilitation. Clearly, our present system of criminal justice is not working very well.

In order to expedite things and save a great deal of money, I have a few suggestions for more fitting punishments, which, though moderately cruel, are certainly not unfair. Instruction in these punishments should be made part of the curriculum in high schools, and legal executions, mutilations, and other punishments should be shown on TV as part of the evening news.

One, persons who kill people (by shooting, knifing, bludgeoning, strangling, suffocating, etc.) during a burglary or holdup shall be shot by a firing squad of the victim’s relatives and neighbors on the day following conviction in the street nearest the place where the crime was committed. TV coverage is mandatory.

Two, rapists (first offenders) will have one testicle surgically removed. Second offenders will lose the second testicle and run a gauntlet of 100 friends of the victim armed with baseball bats. This could be done at Yankee Stadium or the Meadowlands.

Three, embezzlers, crooked politicians, and other white-collar criminals shall be placed naked in a glass cage in front of their former place of employment for one year and be made to pay twice what they stole.

Four, big-time drug dealers and drug smugglers shall be taken 50 miles out to sea in an Army transport plane and pushed out the door. TV tapes of this punishment would be shown in the United States as well as in Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Nigeria, etc.

Five, small-time drug dealers will be dropped by parachute onto a deserted island with a knife, some matches, and a supply of heroin, cocaine, and LSD.

Six, persons who burn down buildings for the insurance shall be branded with a large “A” on their forehead (with a red-hot branding iron) and be forced to pay for rebuilding the burned property. If life was lost as a result of the arson, the arsonist will be burned at the stake in the street in front of the burned building. The relatives of the victim(s) can arrange the kindling and light the fire.

Seven, all child molesters will be castrated.

Eight, hate mongers—people who are convicted of burning crosses on black people’s lawns or painting swastikas on synagogues or other crimes of this nature—shall be punished as follows; crossburners, Ku Kluxers, etc., shall have their foreheads tattooed with “I Hate Niggers” and then be dropped off in Harlem; despoilers of synagogues will be tattooed with “I Hate Jews” and then be dropped off in front of the JDL office.

Nine, loan sharks, depending on the size of their business, will be thrown into a tank at the New York Aquarium with: a) leeches and electric eels; b) piranhas; c) a great white shark at feeding time.

Ten, miscellaneous goons, extortionists, strong-arm men, muggers, con artists, etc., who prey on old or helpless or innocent people shall have the choice of being: a) strapped underneath a subway car for a month; b) handcuffed to a short-tempered gorilla at the Bronx Zoo for a month; c) used as a tackling dummy for the Pittsburgh Steelers for a month; d) hung by their feet from the top of the World Trade Center for a month (all with TV coverage). Second offenders would get the same treatment as big-time drug dealers (see number four).

Eleven, after release from prison, any convicted criminal who is caught with a handgun or knife shall have his weapon surgically implanted between the cheeks of his posterior for a period of five years.

Twelve, to be fair and to prevent unnecessary suffering, anyone convicted of a felony and wishing to avoid the stated punishment may elect to: a) be fired into orbit on the next unmanned space rocket; b) be buried alive; c) emigrate to the former Soviet Union.

All these punishments, which seem rather fitting, would be carried out within days of conviction to save time and immense amounts of taxpayer money. I have only mentioned principal crimes. Misdemeanors like running up $4,000-worth of parking tickets, spray-painting subway cars, vandalizing public buildings, shoplifting, etc., could, I believe, also be penalized in more memorable and effective ways. Any ideas, folks?